(June 25-27) Washington Win Series, 2-1, over Arizona
In taking two of three games from the potent Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington showed its mettle but blew an opportunity for a series sweep in the last game.
In the opening game, starting pitcher Gio Gonzales was the beneficiary of a five-run third inning which included a three-run bomb by Adam LaRoche as the Nats won, 7-5. Jayson Werth, back in the lineup after leaving a game June 23 with a groin strain, added a double, RBI single, and two walks for Washington. Rafael Soriano allowed an RBI single to Miguel Montero in the ninth and put the tying runs on base, but picked up his 20th save.
Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann dominated after a shaky start and rookie Anthony Rendon had his third three-hit performance as the Nats won the second game over Arizona, 3-2. Zimmerman allowed only three hits and extended his home winning streak to 13 games dating back to May 17, 2012 while collecting his league-leading 11th win of the season.
In the series finale, starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg gave up six hits while striking out four and walking two but did not earn a decision as the Nats eventually lost in the 11th inning, 3-2.
(June 28-29) Nats Split Two Games with Mets
In Washington’s second trip this season to Citi Field to face their division rivals, Mets rookie pitcher Matt Harvey continued his dominance, giving up just three hits over seven shutout innings in the series opener. But when Harvey departed, the Nationals’ bats erupted, with Ryan Zimmerman lining a tying, three-run double in the eighth inning and Ian Desmond slicing a go-ahead double in the ninth, rallying the Nationals to a 6-4 victory. Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless eighth inning to record his sixth win of the season and Drew Storen notched his second save of the season.
In the second game, “Nats killer” Dillon Gee faced off against rookie Taylor Jordan, who made his Major League debut. Jordan pitched solidly but was undone by bad luck and shoddy defense as Gee won his sixth game against the Nationals in his young career, 5-1.
In what’s quickly becoming a truly lackluster and disappointing campaign, the Nationals have reached the halfway mark of the season at exactly .500 with a 40-40 record. Thanks to injuries and a lack of clutch, situational hitting, the club just can’t sustain a winning streak to mount a serious threat to the Atlanta Braves’ hold on first place in the division. Luckily for Washington, after a great start Atlanta has become an average team themselves, and has just a 6.5 game lead in the division. Washington is playing better, but still needs to do the small things that lead to big wins and long winning streaks.
Player of the Week: Drew Storen – Storen made three appearances out of the bullpen this week, and recorded his second save of the season with a perfect ninth inning over the Mets on June 28. Storen has been on fire lately, filling in for primary closer Rafael Soriano when needed.
The Nationals will host a seven-game home stand, starting with a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 1-4, and ending with a three-game series against the San Diego Padres on July 5-7.